In this month’s Employee Spotlight, we’d like you to meet FISPAN’s Manager, Infrastructure and Data Services, AJ Olpin! AJ joined our team a year and a half ago, bringing with him over 10 years of experience in finance and technology from a local credit union. Today, AJ manages the Cloud Infrastructure and Data Service teams where he is responsible for the department’s technical output, roadmapping, technical support and team mentoring, ensuring service-level agreements (SLA) are met, and providing an overall positive experience to internal stakeholders.
AJ holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems with a concentration in Systems and Networking, as well as a minor in Economics. AJ also completed his Master of Science (MSc) in Computer Science with a focus on artificial intelligence.
Get to know more about AJ, his biggest motivators for working in FinTech, and how he took the leap from credit union to technology start-up.
Man’s best friend: AJ and his pup Arya take a refreshing hike along the water.
Why did you choose a career in FinTech?
I spent over a decade working for a local credit union because I like the world of finance, especially when combined with technology. Eventually, I started looking for a more fast-paced and flexible career that would allow me to take on bigger challenges, solve more problems, and make a bigger impact in the finance and technology space. Ultimately, this led me in the direction of FinTech, specifically with start-ups.
What is the biggest misconception people have about your position?
Some people tend to think it’s strange that I oversee both Cloud and Data teams, however, at FISPAN, there is actually a lot more in common between the two teams functioning as a part of our overall Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).
One of the core functions of the Cloud Infrastructure team is to provide and maintain Kubernetes and Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a platform for developers to deploy and run the FISPAN application. On the other hand, the Data team continues to build out a data platform to provide self-service data analytics, and in the future, enable advanced data science capabilities to internal clients — who are as equally important to the data team as our external stakeholders.
What’s one thing you’ve learned since joining FISPAN?
There is a vast world of ERPs and business application software that serve a myriad of different functions in their own unique ways. Before FISPAN, I was only really aware of QuickBooks.
AJ’s first visit to the Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Oahu, Hawaii.
What continues to excite you about FISPAN?
Coming into FISPAN, and the FinTech space in general, I wanted to find a role that helped me try something very different from what I was used to. A part of this goal meant challenging myself in new ways and enhancing my problem-solving abilities. The start-up environment was perfect for this since every day brings its own unique types of challenges and complexity. That’s what continues to excite me about FISPAN.
What motivates you?
I like to solve problems, whether they be technical or procedural in nature.
How do you define success?
To me, success is the ability to make an impact, be it large or small, in any opportunity that I choose to pursue.
What is a fun fact about you?
I have an interest in military history and did my thesis research in Convolutional Networks for mushroom identification.
Being late for hockey calls for quick changes on the ferry between Victoria to Vancouver (left). AJ joins his partner and cousin for a ride as they train for the IRONMAN triathlon (right).
What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
When I’m not working, I like playing ice hockey and video games, as well as walking my doggie, Arya. My partner is also currently teaching me how to swim, but also tends to beat me whenever we play golf or tennis.
What TV shows are you currently enjoying?
I’m still waiting for Part 2 of the last season of Ozark, but in the meantime, I’ve also been watching The Last Kingdom and Southland.
Where is your favourite place to eat in your hometown of Victoria, BC?
Boom + Batten right on the harbourfront or Thai Green Elephant.
What is something new you are looking forward to trying in 2022?
I really want to complete my first IRONMAN this year, which is a one-day, long-distance triathlon race across swimming, biking, and running (in that order).
We invite you to get to know AJ further by checking out hisLinkedInand exploring the many career opportunities we have here at FISPAN for those ready to make the jump into FinTech.